Kenya School of Law student leader reported missing

Kenya School of Law campus

The Kenya School of Law academics complex in Nairobi.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Dr Henry Mutai, the Director KSL, confirmed that Mr Okayo has been missing.
  • DP Gachagua said there have been increased reports of abductions in recent days.

Mr Joshua Okayo, who is the President of the Kenya School of Law (KSL) Student Council, has been reportedly abducted by unknown people.

According to KSL management, Mr Okayo went missing on Wednesday after he sent a distress message to a classmate. 

Dr Henry Mutai, the Director KSL, confirmed that Mr Okayo has been missing.

“Efforts to trace him have so far not been successful since his phone is switched off. In view of the prevailing situation in the country, we are concerned for his well-being and safety,” Dr Mutai said.

Dr Mutai appealed to anyone with information about the missing student’s whereabouts to inform the relevant authorities or report to the nearest police station.

This comes at a time when President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua spoke about the spate of abductions that have lately been witnessed in the country.

Speaking to the media in Mombasa on Wednesday evening, Mr Gachagua admitted that there have been increased reports of abductions in recent days.

He specifically cited the recent abduction of the son of Attorney General Justine Muturi, who he claimed was abducted by officers attached to the National Intelligence Service (NIS).

Speaking earlier on from State House, Nairobi, President Ruto issued orders that persons who had been abducted be released unconditionally and no charges be preferred against them. 

The KSL Student Council Vice President, Faith Ndambuki, raised concerns over the arbitrary, unjustified and unlawful arrests and abduction of KSL students.

“Some of those abducted have subsequently been released from police custody and/or abandoned in the middle of nowhere. As a result, many of us are living in fear of being kidnapped and tortured,” she said.

Ms Ndambuki said Mr Okayo has been allegedly abducted for opposing the Finance Bill 2024.

She said Mr Okayo has been exercising his freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 33 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 by actively participating in social media discussions. 

“He had been part of live TV broadcasts. He also he exercised his right to freedom of assembly, demonstration and picketing by physically taking part in Tuesday’s protests against the Finance Bill,” Ms Ndambuki said.

She described Mr Okayo as a person who was championing the rights and welfare of his fellow students at KSL.

Mr Okayo has been vocal in calling for the release of abducted students.

Ms Ndambuki also said the missing student had received threats from unknown people, forcing him to seek refuge away from his home.

When he realised that he was being trailed, Mr Okayo alerted his friends. Thereafter, his friends could not reach him on phone.

“Given the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, we fear that Joshua may have been targeted and captured for his outspoken stance and activism. We strongly believe that government agents played a role in his disappearance,” Ms Ndambuki said.

Meanwhile, the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) has condemned the abduction of people, especially those who have been opposing the Finance Bill 2024.

LSK member Mr Hosea Manwa on Thursday called on those holding the student leader to release him immediately.

At the same time, Mr Kasmuel McOure, who went missing on Monday evening, was released on Thursday. Mr McOure has been vocal opponent of the contentious Bill.

On Wednesday, another student, Peter Nyamweya Oginga, was reportedly abducted in Juja.